Maya Angelou (127803)
Credit: Adrian Castillo (Flickr)

The U.S. Postal Service revealed the Forever Stamp honoring the late Maya Angelou earlier this month.

The stamp showcases Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin’s 2013 48” x 48” oil-on-canvas portrait of Angelou. The large hyper-realistic painting is part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s collection, where it will be on display through Nov. 1. The stamp features this quotation by the pioneering author: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

A short excerpt from Angelou’s book, “Letter to My Daughter” is featured on the stamp’s pane It reads: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, designed the stamp. Customers are encouraged to use social media to spread the news about the stamp using #MayaForever.

“I always wanted to paint Maya as she was a voice that inspired millions — not just as an individual, but as a legendary poet and a civil rights icon who transcended generations,” Rossin said. “I was compelled by the challenge to portray her forgiving smile and her aura of unconditional love and understanding that comes across when having a conversation with her.”

The First-Day-of-Issue stamp dedication ceremony will take place at 11 a.m., Tue., April 7, at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public.

“Maya Angelou inspired our nation through a life of advocacy and through her many contributions to the written and spoken word,” said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan. “Her wide-ranging achievements as a playwright, poet, memoirist, educator, and advocate for justice and equality enhanced our culture.”

Best known as an author, poet, dancer, actress, singer and activist, Angelou died in May 2014 at age 86.